SUN CITY CENTER - An award winning author, poet and presenter, Sun City Center resident Fran Orenstein has made her mark in society.
Born in New York and raised in Brooklyn and the Bronx, she was educated in the public schools and varied culture of New York City. She obtained a master's degree in counseling psychology from the College of New Jersey, and a doctorate in child and youth studies from Nova Southeastern University.
However, Orenstein's passion for literature began early. She wrote her first poem at age 8.
"My mother was a storyteller," Orenstein said. "She would make up stories and elaborate on them. That gave me the impetus from early childhood to create tales. I was 8 years old when I read "Bambi" and was so moved by the book that I wrote a poem about it."
When she was 12, Orenstein received her first rejection slip from "McCall's" for a short story she called "The White Dress."
"It was also my first exposure to the cruel world of publishing," she said. "Three months after the letter came, they published a very similar story with the same title. There was nothing I could do. I was only 12."
Many rejections later, her determination paid off.
Among her many published credits are the 'tween series, "The Mystery Under Third Base," "The Gargoyles of Blackthorne," and "Fat Girls From Outer Space."
Orenstein's first contemporary novel for women, "Gaia's Gift," is set in Southwest Florida. The book deals with love, loss and survivor's guilt.
"My writing is psychologically based, which is part of my education and experience," she said. "It speaks to children and adults and is meant to empower them, (to help them) see themselves in a positive light to make good decisions."
Upcoming books include "Death in D Minor," a historical murder mystery, and a re-publication of some children's poetry, due out later this year.
For more information, go to www.franorenstein.com.
Lorianne De Loreto is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.